What If Thurber Never Got Shot? And Other Party Conversations . . .

19 Dec

by Roger White


Did you know, fellow life travelers, that the wonderful author James Thurber was accidentally shot in the eye with an arrow by his brother while they were playing William Tell as children and so Thurber lost his vision in that eye and that some neurologists think that because Thurber lost vision in that eye that he developed an amazingly creative imagination due to very vivid and complex hallucinations he experienced—hallucinations that are caused by a medical condition called Charles Bonnet syndrome, in which otherwise mentally healthy people suffer wild delusions and lifelike hallucinations due to what researchers believe is the mind’s attempt to meld reality and perception into a “forged vision” to make up for the loss of the person’s biological vision, which may or may not be, in fact, true and provable; however, it does stand to reason, if the example of one James Thurber is held up as the prototypical Charles Bonnet syndrome sufferer because we all know what extraordinarily unique works Thurber composed, such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Catbird Seat and If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox, and furthermore this makes you wonder if Thurber had not been shot in the eye by his brother when he was a child, would he not have become one of America’s great humorists—which then makes me ponder my own fate because, you see, when I was a tyke, I was quite puny and small and was picked on quite a bit by my larger, more sadistic classmates, and because of such bullying, I believe, I developed an “I’ll show you” attitude and was therefore determined to prove that I was just as good, if not better, than my tormentors, which I’m sure is a very common personality factor in many folks, which is certainly why I drove myself to make all A’s in school, graduate valedictorian, run the mile faster than anybody else in a 200-mile radius of my hometown, and this, of course, leads me to further postulate that childhood bullying, accidents, trauma, wedgies, and bedwetting are the likely root causes for much of the world’s great works because it is at that delicate stage in a person’s emotional development that deep-seeded drives and needs are planted and thus if some snot-nosed kid pushes you down on the playground—and surely he’s doing such because his own home life is utterly dysfunctional—then this is something you internalize, perhaps even subconsciously, for years and years until one day, when you are in your late sixties and you realize that all your life you have pushed the limits and crossed the boundaries and explored the heights and depths of your soul because some stupid little asswipe knocked your books out of your hand, and it is at this moment that you pause and reflect and think, wait a minute, you’re saying that everything I’ve achieved up to this moment in time I owe to Thomas Bedford and his gang of thugs, and then you take another drink and come to your senses and everything falls back into place and your arms and legs slowly reattach themselves to you and you float gently down into the chair that you suddenly remember you were sitting in and you realize you are at a New Year’s Eve party in the neighborhood and you’ve been chatting with some couple from two blocks over and you can’t remember their names and it’s just as well anyway because they wandered off to talk to other people when you started getting that glazed look in your eye and began to exhibit early symptoms of catatonia, but then the party hostess comes over and smiles and give you a couple of pigs in blankets, which you greedily devour and realize, whew, it’s about time to go home.


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.



2 Responses to “What If Thurber Never Got Shot? And Other Party Conversations . . .”

  1. bestbathroombooks December 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    This is an awesome post! Great writing! I love it!
    My mother has Bonnet’s Syndrome and it can be terrifying. She sees monsters and Picasso faces, etc. It’s like being on acid and not being able to come down. It can’t be cured, can only be dealt with.

  2. Margie December 20, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    What a remarkable sentence! Conservation of periods is difficult enough, but to say so much with so little punctuation at all is pure genius!

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